Monday, June 11, 2012

Living In Babylon Part 3

This is the final part of a three part series. I hope you are blessed by it.

4) Jesus' Last Words

Luke 23:46 
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. 
Here Jesus closes with the words of Psalm 31:5, speaking to the Father. We see his complete trust in the Father. Jesus entered death in the same way he lived each day of his life, offering up his life as the perfect sacrifice and placing himself in God's hands.
This is a prayer that we can all pray, especially when we are in a Babylon situation: ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When we have complete trust in God, when we place ourselves in God’s hands, we can prosper even in Babylon. It may not be the place we wish it was, but we can still find happiness there. It may not be Jerusalem but it is where we find ourselves living at the moment and maybe forever. That doesn’t have to be a bleak outlook if we put our trust in God. He will give us the strength that we need for each new day. He will give us the grace to handle whatever comes our way.  He alone can help us when no one else can.
When we find ourselves living in Babylon we have three choices as to how we will respond. We can become detached, destructive or determined.  We can become detached and withdrawn. We can pull away from people and become focused only on ourselves and our problems but that pathway only leads to more misery. We find ourselves constantly dwelling on our problems and so we have no blessing, no happiness, no joy and no testimony to the world around us.
We can also choose to be destructive. We can lash out at those around us placing blame and showing unforgiveness. Again this is not the way the Lord, Himself showed us to live. We can do further harm to ourselves and to our families and relationships if we choose to fight against living in Babylon. Maybe the Babylon experience will be a relatively short one for you but even if it proves not to be will you handle it with grace? If you do you will live a blessed life even in Babylon.
Finally we can choose to become determined while living in Babylon. We can be singularly focused on God, on the prize before us, as the Apostle Paul has said. We can be determined that no matter what comes our way, we will not be moved from following after God. Job found himself living in a Babylon situation. He had had everything taken away from him yet he said in Job 13:15 "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him"
Job is speaking to his friends and explaining to them that even though God would allow everything to be taken from him and even if God would take his life, he, Job, would still trust Him. That's faith! This man had been used to living in luxury with servants to see to his every need, now he was sitting by the city gate, with the stray dogs licking his sores. He wasn’t living in a Jerusalem situation, no, he was living in Babylon.

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" is an anchor verse. It's something to hold on to when you live in Babylon. It's unmovable, unshakeable faith in action. Even if, God never blessed you again; even if you found the plans you had for your life had come to nothing but misery, would you still trust the Lord to do good for you? Even if you lost everything that ever mattered to you. Even if everyone around you turned their backs on God, would you? Would you still be able to say: "yet will I trust Him"? When you find yourself living in Babylon, when you’d rather be in Jerusalem, will you still trust Him?

The Word says 'in everything give thanks for this is the will of God', but do we really thank the Lord for the hardships we have to face? Most of the time, if we're honest, we don't. We like life to be easy and free of painful moments as much as possible but even when it isn't we can still have that deep faith that holds on to God when others would encourage you to curse Him and die or in other words: give up. 

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him". God will take care of you even when it looks impossible. Even when you don't know what the outcome of your problem will be, He will take care of you. Job knew this. The children of Israel knew this even when they were in exile. They didn’t like it. They would have rather been rescued and returned home but they knew that God loved them and had a plan for them as He does for each one of us.

You may be in Babylon today. There may be no end in sight but let me encourage you to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6) Even when you find yourself in a horrible situation, honor God with the way you handle it and He will bless you. Build houses, plant gardens, marry and have children, in other words keep on living and He will bless you even in Babylon.

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